TODAY   |  January 31, 2013

Police in contact with Ala. man holding boy hostage

Hostage negotiators have been talking to Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, who abducted a kindergartener off his school bus Tuesday after killing the bus driver and is continuing to hold the boy, 5, hostage in a tornado bunker. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> to the drama still unfolding this morning where a suspect is holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in his underground bunker . gabe is there. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning. in that underground bunker , police have been working more than 36 hours to free this 5-year-old boy. so far, he is unharmed. police have been able to bring his medicine and a coloring book . today, we're learning more about his alleged kidnap per. hostage negotiators have been talking with the suspect through a pvc pipe attached to what is described as a tornado bunker. a close source to the investigation describes him as 65-year-old jimmy lee dykes. a source describes him as survivalist who distrusts the government. and neighbors describe him as a loner, always menacing.

>> this man has exhibited for years signs of instability.

>> does he scare you?

>> he terrified me. he was basically a ticking time bomb .

>> reporter: on tuesday afternoon, the police source says the gunman boarded a stopped school bus near this church and demanded a few random children come with him. it's not clear why. the bus driver , 66-year-old charles poland junior refused to let any children go and when dykes shot poland multiple times killing him. as officers closed in, witnesses who shot this cell phone video say the suspect grabbed one of the children who had fainted and took the kindergartener to his property near by. the child has been identified simply by his first name, ethan. he turns 6 in a few weeks. in midland city, vigils wednesday night to pray for ethan and remember the bus driver .

>> he's definitely a hero because he did everything he could to save those children.

>> reporter: all of this shocking this small community in southeastern alabama.

>> to think that he is holding this poor innocent little child , it just -- it is, it's inextricably overwhelming.

>> reporter: court records show the suspect had a scheduled court appearance wednesday morning to face misdemeanor charges menacing a neighbor. police are not sure what role if any it may have played in a motive. savannah.